Sade, the smooth-jazz singer from the 1980s, emerged as the top paid British music artist of 2011, according to research compiled by Billboard for its Money Makers list.

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The When Am Going to Make a Living? singer made over $16.4 million (about £11M) last year, mostly from sales of her back catalogue, beating next placed Brit Adele by over three million dollars.

Overall list-topper was country-crossover Taylor Swift, who pulled in $35.7 million.

Swift grossed $88 million in the US – which amounted to a personal fortune of $29.8 million – from her Speak Now Tour as well as touring across Asia and Europe, selling over 1.8 million albums and a further 7.8 million single track downloads, and gaining income from song writing royalties.

Irish rockers U2 follow closely behind the 22-year-old beauty on the 2012 Billboard Money Makers List, with a fortune of $32.1 million, mainly drawn from their huge 360 Degrees shows, the highest-earning tour of 2011.

The Sweetest Thing band grossed more than $293 million from 44 concerts throughout the three-year tour, which was watched by nearly three million people, and saw them beat a record set by The Rolling Stones for highest grossing tour ever, taking $763 million in total.

2012 Billboard Money Makers list, Top 10:

1. Taylor Swift – $35,719,902
2. U2 – $32,116,315
3. Kenny Chesney – $29,837,103
4. Lady Gaga – $25,353,039
5. Lil Wayne – $23,178,722
6. Sade – $16,382,809
7. Bon Jovi – $15,835,856
8. Celine Dion – $14,261,515
9. Jason Aldean – $13,409,011
10. Adele – $13,081,909